3 Customer Feedback Strategies That Actually Work
Properly leveraging customer’s feedback to make serious changes to your business’ operations for the better is a vital part of any company’s success, but few managers and executives seem to know where to begin. Far too often, in the boardrooms of today’s largest corporations and in the home offices of small mom and pop shops, customer feedback isn’t considered because it’s merely too costly, or too confusing, to do so.
So where should smart business leaders begin when it comes to incorporating consumer feedback into their business plans? A quick review of common mistakes, and a guide focused on 3 specific, time-tested tips, shows that your company can rely on customer feedback to maximize efficiency and build better relationships with its consumers in no time.
Embrace tech to better communication
Many companies today are consistently making one huge mistake; they’re refusing to embrace new, innovative ways of doing business and collecting feedback because it’s too expensive or daunting to do so. Failing to have an adequate social media presence, for instance, or having an outdated website or consumer hotline that fails to meet the demands of the modern internet’s users all go a long way towards making your customer feedback services obsolete and grossly inefficient.
Focusing on direct customer feedback – hearing directly from your shoppers or clients, ideally from their personal accounts in places they’re comfortable, like on social media pages – is an ideal way to ensure you’re getting honest feedback that can be usefully applied to your business.
Today’s customers, particularly millennials, who now make up the bulk of the labor force, want to directly speak to their favorite companies on channels that are familiar to them and easy to use. Countless companies, from Wendy’s to DiGiornos, have gone viral with successful feedback campaigns that include responding directly to individual tweets, post, and feedback from company accounts, for instance.
You can’t use feedback if you’re unsure of how to gather it in today’ tech-dominated landscape. Before your firm gets started, make sure you have the tools necessary to accomplish your goals. Once you have that feedback, however, how do you turn it into something meaningful and actionable?
Turn feedback into progress
A seemingly-simple but oft overlooked tip is actually ensuring that customer’s feedback is translated into changes in your business’ operations. Too few companies invest too little in their customer service abilities as well as their consumer feedback centers; your firm needs dedicated employees ready to move on a moment’s notice when the market’s trends are changing, ready to brief executives on what specific changes need to be made to your retail outlet or factory.
Part of this is rewarding customers for their invaluable feedback – campaigns that offer discounts in exchange for honest feedback, for instance, are likely to bring in more consumers in the future who are ready to contribute to maximizing your company’s efficiency. Let’s be real; the only reason customers take time out of their busy days to provide you with positive quotes is because they earnestly want you to change your business for the better. Make use of this, and don’t dismiss seemingly outlandish advice from your consumers just because it’s inconvenient, or because your team hadn’t thought of it first.
Build a culture of innovation
All of the information gathered from your customers won’t mean anything if it’s received in an office or business atmosphere that’s dominated by the stagnation of ideas. Your company needs to fully embrace innovation from the top down, welcoming in feedback eagerly and making changes to meet new demands, without viewing all of this as a chore or an expensive box to check off.
Part of this means placing higher expectations on your leadership figures. Managers and executives shouldn’t be afraid to accept feedback from their own underlings, for instance, if they ever intend to meaningfully enact customer’s feedback into business reforms. If you’re not listening to your own employees, how on earth will you be able to listen to and understand your consumer’s complaints?
These steps aren’t always easy, and will frequently cost your business some money up front while forcing it to confront new and unfamiliar circumstances. With challenges come growth, however, and no company can adequately keep up with the rapidly-shifting demands of the public without making some sacrifices. Keep your eye on the ball, and learn to honestly appreciate customer feedback, and you’ll be bettering your business in no time.
A social media marketing executive and entrepreneur, Alex has led the marketing divisions of some of the UK's leading advertising and PR firms. He specializes in usng the power of big data and business analysis to deliver actionable metrics.
As head of social media strategy, Alex is directly responsible for the customer experience and...